On a leisurely Sunday morning, as I sat reading the newspaper, the doorbell rang to reveal the presence of the “paper” boy. Not the one who delivers it every day but the one who picks up the old newspapers, a tiny cog in the humongous wheel of the recycling industry.
I was surprised to see him for he hadn’t been around for quite some time, forcing me to give away the burgeoning pile of newspapers to another such “paper boy.” Even as I was preparing an answer to his request for collecting my non-existent “raddi,” I was struck by the fact that he was agitated about something.
He asked me if “Saar” had sold off the pieces of iron that were left over from one of his elevator projects. At first sound, I thought he was upset because he had been trying to negotiate a deal with “Saar” who had steadfastly refused to give in to what he considered an undervalued price. Poor “paper boy” didn’t know that had he come when “Saar” was in a more expansive mood, he’d have got his iron which still lay untended and forgotten under the concrete bench outside our house.
But let me not digress from the story which vies with “Saar’s” moods for unpredictability.
It turned out that two children had come to the “raddi” shop of this “paper boy,” offering to sell an iron bar that was suspiciously similar in appearance and dimension to the one “Saar” had refused to trade. Our “paper boy” had refused to buy it from those urchins because he thought they had stolen it from us!! And had hurried to our house to check with us to see if our iron was safe!!
The rest of my Sunday was spent in the wondrous glow of knowing that for all the world’s ruing of how moral values are denigrating, there are still people like this “paper boy” who help keep my faith going strong.
I put this part up on my Facebook page that I maintain as part of a daily writing exercise..but then, many readers wanted to know what happened next – and although I’d rather have written about it some other time, I suppose it’s best to strike while the “iron” is hot!
Well, “Saar” was definitely impressed with “paper boy’s” integrity and thanked him profusely and showered him with praise for having taken the trouble to inquire. The warmth however, was not
strong enough to thaw the inertia of “Saar” on a Sunday morning. This writer’s request too fell on deaf ears and both she and the “paper boy” were dismissed with a “Let’s see next time.”
A few months later, one sunny afternoon, “Saar” sat in his home office, brainstorming with an associate. His view of the entry gate was obscured by the SUV parked in front. The iron lay ignored under the concrete bench a few steps away from the gate. A youngster reached the office door, saying he was on his way to the nearby ISKCON temple, and requested a glass of water to drink. “Saar” went in for a minute or two, filled up a water bottle, gave it to the boy and went back into his office.
About two hours later, an employee who came back from a work site, noticed the iron was gone.
The Srimad Bhagavatam makes an emphatic point. Put a mother cow into a cowshed with 1000 calves and yet, she will find her way unerringly to her calf. Karma works similarly with unparalleled precision.
That iron was not meant to bring any income to “paper boy.” Nor, apparently, to “Saar”. Both the one who wanted a lower price and the one who wanted a higher price were left without any stake in the matter, totally eliminated from the equation.
The one who is intended to enjoy the fruits from a piece of iron is the ONLY one who will benefit from it – not the one who owns it, nor the one who covets it.
I only shudder to think of what karma has in store for the youth who brought Krishna into the equation.